Volume 1, 2018
Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art
An Unexpected Sequel to Neopragmatism
From Richard Rorty’s Aesthetic Textualism to Richard Shusterman’s Somaesthetics
What is the quarrel in full swing within American pragmatism? How do contemporary neopragmatists read the philosophical tradition which they uphold and under what conditions is it that they envisage its future? Richard Rorty’s renewal of pragmatism toward the end of the 20th century was based on the aesthetization of philosophy. Today his legacy seems to be evolving in an unexpected direction. Richard Shusterman, a potential disciple, proposes the delineation of a new subfield of investigation, somaesthetics. Both philosophers acknowledge and reinforce the philosophic aims of John Dewey. Aims of anti-fundamentalism and perspectivism of formative interaction and faith in meliorism that both espouse personal self-fashioning by means of the person’s aesthetization within a liberal democracy, either through discrete narratives and forceful texts, as Rorty writes or through the somatic understanding of the self and of the other, as Shusterman practices, all the way to the gymnasium. Language and the body do not comprise a new dualism. Rather, they recommend supplementary fields of action, whose forcefulness does not lie in rationalism or in naturalism, but in the allure which something, both a means and an end, manages to exert. One issue of contention is the degree to which the aesthetization of language and the body crosses over from the private to the public sphere of life.